Students are a riot. Here's some of my favorite grad students, post-docs, interns, undergraduates, RAs, visiting scholars, and co-workers. They've discovered, tested, and shared tons of great insights with the people who could use them most.
2019 and on
Being a student is a state of mind. Other than interns and part-time grad students, there aren't very many library card-carrying "students" at VitalSmarts. Still, there's a lot of the same creativity, energy, and enthusiasm.
2014 to 2019
Focusing on what kids eat for the Smarter Lunchroom program, and because I had 3 kids to test ideas on.
As the Lab staff plays hooky and tours the poppy fields of the local cartel, our Summer Interns search for the key to the building.
Separated at birth (and 30 years). For Halloween 2018, a creative grad student channeled his inner me and went Trick or Treating for big candy booty.
My last 8:00 AM Consumer Behavior class. The people on the ground are just waking up.
My awesome early-rising TAs
My grad students come over for dinner and reveal their innermost thoughts.
For Christmas, we went to a place where you paint and drink wine. It's called Wine and Design, but it's nicknamed Swig and Scrawl. Most of us are too embarrassed with our paintings to show our faces. But there's always that one guy . . .
Winter hats off to our visiting scholars, and summer hats off to our hayracking Summer Interns
Kicking another Summer off with a party. WHERE'S THE FOOD?
Jurassic Park Drive-in: Despite our best efforts, the Velociraptors still ate more people than we ate popcorn.
Our great summer interns this year included a French-trained chef, an ASU golf star, and a Notre Dame cheerleader. So . . . • we had great dinner parties, • we didn't lose the department golf tournament, and • we learned all of the secrets of how to take great group photos.
Nothing builds research team cohesion like trying to kill everyone else with a laser gun.
In addition to wearing my mad scientist Halloween costume to class, I also wore it to the faculty meeting. One person thankfully noticed I was in costume. No one else seemed to notice.
2010 to 2013
After returning from Washington DC, we created the Smarter Lunchroom program and focused most of our energy on developing programs we thought would help change how kids eat. Aaannd . . . we had lots of fun.
These two classes each had some of the most wonderful TAs I've had.
For the first and only time, we had an undergraduate male researcher serve as the Summer Intern Social Coordinator. The interns were all excited the next week that he had shown them how to play Edward Fortyhands over the weekend. I didn't ask who won.
Since I usually taught on Halloween, I'd dress up for class to make it more fun. Each year more people in the Lab also dressed up to make it less embarrassing for me during the rest of the day.
Our first interns after I returned from DC.
Laura Smith (front left) was our amazing Deputy Director, and the most resourceful person I've ever known (she's now a Prof ... yeeaahh!)
During 2007-2009, I took a leave of absence to move to DC and to direct the USDA Dietary Guidelines. I came back to Cornell one weekend a month and key Lab folks would come down to to DC one weekend a month. That didn't end up being enough face time together to keep things on track, but it seemed to be at the time.
In the first two years after moving to Cornell, things started off small, but when Mindless Eating was published in 2006, both class enrollments and visiting scholar requests perked up.
The guy who looks like he could be my brother is Collin Payne. He was a super productive, funny, widely-loved Post-Doc who'd gotten his PhD in Social Psych from BYU.
1997 to 2005
The Food and Brand Lab was formed in 1997 when I moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here's some of the wonderfully awesome students and post-docs that were part of that great adventure.
Wrapping up the school year with dinner at my home. Sometimes thoughtful students might bring something to dinner as a gift -- like flowers, a dessert, or wine. The guy on the far right was from Mississippi, and he brought two jars of Moonshine from a guy he knows who "makes it real good." It was a historically late dinner party.
We did tons of research on how to encourage people to eat healthy commodities (like soy) more frequently. These studies got most of these students really neat jobs, and much of it was eventually published in the book, Marketing Nutrition.
In 2000 and 2001, we sent 16-page questionnaires to 5000 WWII vets and asked them all sorts of questions to see how their experience influenced their lives as consumers. So cool. The guy in the back row with the super curly hair is Koert van Ittersum, and we ended up becoming great friends and authoring lots of fun stuff together.
Jim Painter and I did a bunch of fun but labor-intensive projects, like all of the food naming studies and the bottomless soup bowl studies. He had this legendary following of great students who were always eager to help with even the most onerous studies.
Around 2000, formalized our procedures for recruiting, weekly meetings, projects, and scheduling. After doing this, each year's Lab group jelled pretty quickly.
We were doing a bunch of studies on chewing gum, and so we visited the HQ of Wrigley's up in Chicago to scrounge through their company library files looking to spark more ideas.
To geek out a bit, we had a fun retreat where we had an etiquette consultant teach us how to behave at formal meals.
1985 to 1996
During my first 7 years as a professor at Dartmouth and Wharton, I didn't have a formal Food and Brand Lab, but a number of great students and RAs helped me with favorite projects. Perhaps the most notable of these were the studies on movie popcorn and the package size studies that proved to Nabisco, M&M/Mars and Kelloggs that there were win-win advantages of making 100-calorie packs.
After graduating from Professor School, my first MBA marketing course was with these Dartmouth students (in 1991). They took this photo, signed the surrounding matt, and framed it. I've had it in my office ever since.
I couldn't find any student photos when I was teaching at Wharton, but I did find this student photo of me as a student from my PhD program. I'll include it so this space isn't so empty.